Immigration. The U.S.-Mexico border. Wall-building. Abortion rights. Voting rights. Election laws. The Second Amendment and gun rights. Critical race theory. Transgender athletes.
The Texas Legislature has gone home, and Gov. Greg Abbott — who’ll be seeking reelection next year — has returned to the top concern of the state’s Republican voters: immigration and border security.
After the deadly and expensive electrical outages during a winter freeze in February, Texas lawmakers set out to make such disasters less likely in the future. And as The Texas Tribune’s Erin Douglas and Mitchell Ferman have reported, they made some progress.
The strangest regular session in the modern history of the Texas Legislature is ending, but the pandemic shadow that darkened these proceedings isn’t finished with the state’s government and politics.
The legislative session that ends in a week is just the first chapter for this batch of state lawmakers; the list of things to do when they come back later this year is growing.
This cannot possibly be as simple as it looks, but here’s what Texas Republicans appear to be telling you about themselves over the last week: Their party is fractured.
Most Texans don’t think the political divisions in the state are as bad as they look; 81% told surveyors for a new Threads of Texas project that Texans’ common attitudes outnumber their differences.
This legislative session began quietly in January, during the state’s worst peak of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus. With just six weeks left of the 140-day regular session, and the pandemic down to a pre-surge level, the pace is quickening.
Look who’s showing up in debates over voting and elections, opposing some of the leaders of a GOP that had a long and deserved reputation as the party of big business.
Efforts to bar local governments from hiring outside lobbyists or joining associations that lobby the state government are gaining steam, after falling short two years ago.
It’s clear that there are more people trying to get across the border between Mexico and Texas, that state officials are concerned about increases in human trafficking there and that the state’s Republican politicians are trying to pin those troubles on the country’s Democratic president.
Lieutenant governors almost never interrogate witnesses at public hearings. It’s not that it’s illegal, just that that sort of showboating is not done. That’s the business of senators and representatives. A lieutenant governor grabbing the mic is the legislative equivalent of a parent taking…
Maybe the latest announcement from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was just the sound of a political gnat hitting the windshield. If that turns out to be the case, let’s at least consider the last thought that went through the poor bug’s brain.
While you’re watching the taxpayer-funded spanking line on the recent freeze and blackouts in the state, don’t lose sight of the real losses behind the outrage.
ERCOT, the state-controlled electric grid operator taking most of the initial blame for widespread blackouts and for all of the attendant misery over the last week, answers to the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
From his first campaign for statewide office in 2014 to now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has never not been in legal trouble. And his problems are multiplying at a time when someone in his spot would ordinarily be dreaming and scheming about higher office.
Of all the things on Gov. Greg Abbott’s list of priorities, the call for broadband internet might be the most popular in the state Legislature. But fixing the problems of accessibility and affordability will be expensive and time-consuming.
Beto O’Rourke is thinking about challenging Gov. Greg Abbott in the 2022 election. Abbott is already responding, the way candidates do.
Unity might seem like the political word of the day after its place at center stage in President Joe Biden’s inaugural address, but Texas officeholders were singing the same song two years ago.
The Texas Capitol, where lawmakers gather every two years to pass laws, write budgets and argue politics, has a new function in 2021: It’s the incidental scene of a large public health experiment, a human-scale science fair exhibition of intense social interaction during a pandemic.
Every biennial session of the Texas Legislature has its own personality. For the session that begins today, that personality will be shaped by an extraordinary set of issues and a bizarre political environment.
You don’t expect the top executives in the state attorney general’s office to turn on their boss, telling the agency and law enforcement that Ken Paxton has been doing favors for a political donor that have crossed the line into bribery and abuse of office. But it happened in 2020.
Demonstrations for racial justice and against police violence began in Texas and across the country after the killing of Houston native George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Most of the vote counting is over. Most of the noise, with any luck at all, is behind us — although the Electoral College voting happens in two weeks. Cross your fingers, if you haven’t stuck them in your ears.
If you don’t trust the election results at the top of the ballot, there’s no reason to trust any of the rest of it, all the way down to justices of the peace, school trustees and seats on the city council.
In a political environment like Washington, D.C., the kinds of legal perils encircling Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton might be grounds for firing, impeachment or congressional investigation.
The Texas Legislature won’t convene until January, but Monday marks the beginning of that session. It’s the day lawmakers can officially file legislation for the coming session — an opening look at the issues legislators want to address or at least talk about.
Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives have an eight-seat advantage over the Democrats. The minority party is spending boatloads of money to flip the nine districts it would take to regain the majority they lost in the 2002 election.
With Texans already casting absentee ballots, Gov. Greg Abbott is making it more difficult to vote by closing ballot drop-off locations.
Confused about voting? Voting clerks in parts of Texas are confused, too. All the political chatter about problems with the U.S. Postal Service and voting by mail has some election officials telling their voters to cast absentee ballots by bringing them to the main office instead of dropping…
The Texas ballots are set. The Democratic and Republican conventions are complete. But the issues that will drive some of our decisions won’t gel for another few weeks.
Texas Republicans may have found their best argument going into the 2020 general election, thanks to leaders of the state’s most exuberantly liberal big city.
Texas legislators have been shut out of the decisions about whether to open or close business, government and cultural spaces during a pandemic — a debating topic that now includes public schools.
It will be a miracle if Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and his team of financial prognosticators are right about the arc of the state’s economy over the next few months.
Tuesday’s primary runoff elections in Texas, held during an appalling rise in coronavirus cases and a relative low spot in the presidency of Donald Trump, didn’t look like much, in historic terms.
The real question for thousands of Texas Republican delegates on the invitation list for what was going to be an in-person state convention next week is just like the one facing parents deciding whether they’re comfortable sending their kids to school in a few weeks.
“We’ll leave the light on for you” is a motel chain’s slogan. It also appears to be a principal coronavirus measure for the state of Texas, where the number of available hospital beds is more influential with top leaders than the number of sick or dying Texans.
The Texas Capitol has a capacity of 6,000 “if you throw the doors open,” according to state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth. It was closed for cleaning for two days this past week, after COVID-19 made its way into the ranks of the state police who guard the building.
San Marcos and other cities have found a way to keep money flowing into their accounts in spite of the economic shutdown: the international shopping venue known as the internet.
After more than a week of nationwide demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, top Republican politicians in Texas are suddenly allergic to racism.